Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Lego: First pass: Macro sorting

 So you have a few thousand Lego bricks and want to organize them. Where do you start?

The most common approach is dump them all out on a large surface, get a few storage containers, and sort by color. This works for storing the bricks but has some shortfalls. 

  1. Not efficient if you actually want to build anything with what you have in inventory.
  2. New bricks (new to the collections and/or new styles of bricks) will just get lost in the mesh
  3. If  you want to build something and you go searching for a specific part, it will be much easier to locate, e.g. finding a grey 2x1 plate will be easier to find in a mess of other 2x1 plates than in a bin of all grey parts.
  4. Boring and unimaginative
Brick Architect has a good guide on this. He breaks everything into six categories: Bricks, plates, tiles, slope, technic, and SNOT (Studs Not On Top).
But... it feels too confined.

I use a technique that I refer to was macro sorting. It is a combo of sorting by type or size.  

I use these categories (You can rearrange these as you see fit, but my biggest piece of advice is be consistent.):

  1. combined plates and tiles (separate them later, for now keep them together), any shape as long as it is the 1/3 height
    1. move anything larger than 4x4 (16 studs) to a separate bin, these take up a lot of space.
  2. Bricks (anything 1 block high and all right angles is a brick, even if it has decor on it
    1. unless it is a technic
  3. Slopes, any brick that changes direction from top to bottom of the brick is a slope, this includes arches
    1. unless it is a windshield or wheel well
  4. SNOT, anything where the studs are in weird places and/or on more than one side, plus things like hinges, fences
    1. lots of exceptions here
  5. decorations, this is broad and includes plants, minifigs, any items designed to be held by a minifig, flags, signs, and many things I am unsure where else to put. For whatever reason I also put anything designed to clip together in here
  6. technic, anything intended to be part of a moving assembly that has the ability to connect in non-stud ways
  7. vehicle chassis and parts, boat parts, wheels, tires, wheel wells, motorcycles, cranes, winches, forklifts, etc
  8. Large items: walls, windows, doors, bricks that are more than 1 brick high, windshields, canopies

I will update this as I think of things, but remember, this is just your first pass. We will break things down further as we go along.

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